I admit, I have made a lot of mistakes in ministry, but this is not one of them.
As a young minister, I was asked by a funeral director to hold a graveside service in a new cemetery for a derelict man (with no family or friends) who had died while traveling through the area. The cemetery was way back in the country. This man would be the first to be laid to rest at this new cemetery.
As I was not familiar with the backwoods area, I became lost. Being the typical man I didn't stop for directions. And when I finally arrived an hour late, I saw a crew and a backhoe, but the hearse was nowhere in sight.
The workmen were eating lunch. I apologized for my tardiness, but the workers just looked puzzled. I stepped to the side of the open grave, to find the vault lid already in place. I assured the workers I would not hold them long, but this was the proper thing to do. As the workers gathered around, still eating their lunch, I poured out my heart and soul. As I preached, the workers began to say "Amen," "Praise the Lord," and "Preach it, brother!" (They must have all been Baptists.)
I preached and I preached, like I'd never preached before. I began in Genesis and worked all the way to Revelation. I preached for 45 minutes. Finally, I closed in prayer and it was finished. As I was walking to my car, I felt that I had done my duty and I would leave with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication, in spite of my tardiness.
As I was opening the door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the workers saying to another, "Ya know, I've been putting in septic tanks for 20 years, but I ain't never seen anything like that before."